Article 19. Accessories. - Accessories are those who, having knowledge of the commission of the crime, and without having participated therein, either as principals or accomplices, take part subsequent to its commission in any of the following manners:
1. By profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime.
2. By concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or instruments thereof, in order to prevent its discovery.
3. By harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal of the crime, provided the accessory acts with abuse of his public functions or whenever the author of the crime is guilty of treason, parricide, murder, or an attempt to take the life of the Chief Executive, or is known to be habitually guilty of some other crime.
Article 20. Accessories who are exempt from criminal liability. - The penalties prescribed for accessories shall not be imposed upon those who are such with respect to their spouses, ascendants, descendants, legitimate, natural, and adopted brothers and sisters, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees, with the single exception of accessories falling within the provisions of paragraph 1 of the next preceding article.
Thus, the mother being an ascendant cannot be held criminally liable for harboring or concealing or assisting in the escape of her son who has committed murder, if we are to interpret the law respectively. The funny thing is that the NBI claims that Mrs. Ivler can be held criminally liable for "Obstruction of Justice" and some other crimes for what she did.
Now, the question is... is the law fair enough that it protects one from being criminally liable but holds one again for another distinct crime?
The only thing getting absurd is not the situation of Jason or that of his mother... but the legal system itself becomes questionable. It is true that in statutory construction, when an old law is in contravention with a new law, then the new law will be upheld. There being an implied repeal of the old law. The Revised Penal Code dates back to 1932 as its enactment, but Presidential Decree No. 1829 which punishes the crime of Obstruction of Justice is a special law which was created in 1981. But pertinent provisions in the special law provides that:
The law covers the following acts of any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases:
c. Harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest, prosecution and conviction.
i. Giving of false or fabricated information to mislead or prevent the law enforcement agencies from apprehending the offender or from protecting the life or property of the victim; or fabricating information from the data gathered in confidence by investigating authorities for purposes of background information and not for publication and publishing or disseminating the same to mislead the investigator or the court.
And one thing I've learned in Statutory Construction is that when there is a law pertaining to specific class and another law of a general approach, the law on specific class is not repealed impliedly.
Losing a family member is a nightmare that cannot be prevented, but the thought of losing a son is a nightmare that needs to be prevented.
Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that “No amount of filial feelings can justify your hiding of a person who committed a crime, a very blatant crime.”
However, we cannot deny the truth that the law saves those who condones the crimes of another for reasons that only blood ties can express. Again, Mrs. Marlene Ivler should not be punished for loving his son too much. She cannot be criminally liable for what she did... out of her love for her son. But I do not wish to be understood to be standing for her cause or giving preference to her or even condoning her actions...
I am only trying to relay what the law has provided...
An official's son got shot and died... a life was lost. And some others have lost their sons for some trivial and unexpected reasons... some have not even been given the justice that they deserve... and some have been lost and forgotten...
Taking up responsibilities and owning up to them is a courageous thing to do. But to know that the law is the law no matter how harsh it is is another thing.
In the end, I hope that justice can be served. After all, the primary suspect is not the mother who loves her son profoundly and excessively... why should society punish the likes of her when her rights are protected under the law?
It is one thing to be an accused and another to be an accused's relative. The love for your own is far zealous than that for your own countrymen. And even the law knows this much.